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Research Article

Ectopic induction of tendon and ligament in rats by growth and differentiation factors 5, 6, and 7, members of the TGF-beta gene family.

N M Wolfman, G Hattersley, K Cox, A J Celeste, R Nelson, N Yamaji, J L Dube, E DiBlasio-Smith, J Nove, J J Song, J M Wozney and V Rosen

Genetics Institute, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140, USA.

Published July 15, 1997

Little is known about the regulatory signals involved in tendon and ligament formation, and this lack of understanding has hindered attempts to develop biologically based therapies for tendon and ligament repair. Here we report that growth and differentiation factors (GDFs) 5, 6, and 7, members of the TGF-beta gene superfamily that are most related to the bone morphogenetic proteins, induce neotendon/ligament formation when implanted at ectopic sites in vivo. Analysis of tissue induced by GDF-5, 6, or 7, containing implants by currently available morphological and molecular criteria used to characterize tendon and ligament, adds further evidence to the idea that these GDFs act as signaling molecules during embryonic tendon/ligament formation. In addition, comparative in situ localizations of the GDF-5, 6, and 7 mRNAs suggest that these molecules are important regulatory components of synovial joint morphogenesis.

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